PennDOT brings in heavy equipment to remove boulders along Route 28

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PITTSBURGH —

Work is underway this weekend to remove boulders that were stopped by mesh fencing along Route 28 earlier in the week.

Heavy equipment, including backhoes and jackhammers, was brought in Saturday morning while the right lane of the Etna bypass was blocked to traffic.

“You want to be prepared to minimize the disruption and ensure the safety of motorist, and we’re very pleased the fence worked in the manner that it did,” said PennDOT District 11 Executive Dan Cessna.

On Monday the hillside gave way, sending massive boulders barreling toward Route 28 inbound that were stopped in their tracks when they were caught and trapped in the steel mesh fence.

“What they’ll do is assess the area. Is there any other loose debris that need (to be) removed other than just getting the large debris out of the catch basin area?” said Cessna.

The boulders, which were so huge they stretched the fencing over the jersey barrier, will be chipped up with a jackhammer, so they’re small enough to be hauled away.

“After the debris is removed, we’ll do a full assessment of the fence (to) determine if there is any area that’s compromised, needs to be replaced or repaired in any way,” said Cessna

PennDOT said it is no small task to remove the boulders and their crews will be working around the clock all weekend with the goal to have the work completed before Monday’s morning rush hour.